Twice a week Lindsay Lee wakes up at 6 a.m. for her “dreaded” lifting and endurance workouts — part of the 18-year-old University of Colorado cheerleader’s practices.
Some may see this, plus three more days of three-hour practices, as deal-breaking sacrifice; Lee considers cheerleading a confidence booster that has helped smooth her transition from an Oak Ridge High School student to a freshman marketing major in Boulder, Colo.
“I have loved being apart of the CU Boulder cheerleading squad and I feel so fortunate to be on the team,” Lee said. “I have grown to love and respect my teammates and all the hard work we put forth.”
Lee and 49 other male and female cheer team athletes — nine are freshman — root for the Buffaloes at football games, volleyball matches, court-side during mens and women’s basketball. They also perform at community events and other school functions. But being a Division 1 athlete in the Pac 12 isn’t all pom poms and smiles; it’s a “huge time commitment,” Lee noted, and athletes have to be flexible (in both schedules and bodies).
“You must have a standing back tuck, at least a running tumbling pass above a round-off back handspring layout, experienced stunting skills, and the ability to dance, smile and have fun in front of large crowds,” Lee said.
Did she mention weekly community service yet? Yep, they do that too. Lee’s also hoping to add a sports marketing internship to her schedule next school year.
Before she put on the CU Buffs gold and black uniform, Lee wore gold and blue as a Trojan cheerleader; she cheered on the varsity squad for three years. She also coached the Jr. Trojans for three years. “I will never forget the kids I worked with and how rewarding it was to see their skills grow in a year,” Lee said.
Lee started out as a child gymnast but decided to shift her perky personality to cheerleading. “I immediately loved the sport — both the spunky, peppy side and, of course, the competitive.”
Speaking of that competitive streak, Lee hopes to make the CU competitive team in the spring. The CU Buffs Cheer Team placed third at the 2012 NCA College National Championships and have had several top 10 finishes.
Whether the home team wins or loses, Lee’s high spirits will not waver. “My experience with this sport has been one of the best,” she said, “full of memories and fun.”